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What does pulse pressure indicate about your health?

A wide pulse pressure range can result in organ damage and raise the risk of cardiovascular disease, particularly as one age.


Antah Yog pulse pressure blood pressure

Image by Adriano Gadini from Pixabay

Your doctor will record two measures of your blood pressure when they undertake a checkup on you: the “highest” number known as the systolic pressure diastolic pressure is the “bottom” value in a blood pressure reading.

Your systolic blood pressure is the pressure that is at its highest when your heart is beating; this is the pressure that is measured. A measurement of the pressure in your arteries taken in between beats of your heart is known as your diastolic blood pressure.

Your pulse pressure is determined by subtracting your diastolic blood pressure from your systolic blood pressure. If your systolic blood pressure is 120 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), and your diastolic blood pressure is 80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), then your pulse pressure would be 40 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).


Why does pulse pressure matter?

You can check your risk of heart-related disorders by taking your pulse pressure readings. This can be helpful. Having a high measurement puts you at an increased risk of developing heart disease and a greater risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. An increase in pulse pressure of as low as 10 mm Hg can elevate the risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 20 percent.


How to properly interpret values of the pulse pressure

Pulse pressure within the range of 40 to 60 mm Hg is considered normal. When the reading on the pulse pressure monitor is less than 40 mm Hg, the reading is deemed to be low. A decrease in cardiac output can sometimes be indicated by a low pulse pressure. It is frequently seen in patients who are suffering from heart failure.

If the reading for the pulse pressure is greater than 60 mm Hg, then the reading is regarded to be high. It is not uncommon for the measurement of a person’s pulse pressure to rise as they get older. This may be the result of atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of fatty deposits on the artery walls, or hypertension (high blood pressure). In addition, hyperthyroidism and iron deficiency anemia both have the potential to bring about an increase in pulse pressure.


When I take my blood pressure several minutes apart, why does the reading for my pulse pressure vary so much?

It is common for these measurements to change, even when they are obtained immediately one after the other. Activities that are part of a person’s day-to-day life, such as walking, talking, eating, or laughing, have the potential to influence the readings.

Take your blood pressure readings at the same time each day to get the most accurate picture possible. Get at least two readings spaced up to two minutes apart each. Maintain a record of your readings and discuss them with your physician so that they can assist in determining whether or not there is a problem.


What does it signify when the pulse pressure is narrow?

The term “narrow” pulse pressure is another term that can be used to refer to low pulse pressure. This is in regard to the decreasing gap between your systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings that you have been experiencing.


What does it signify when the pulse pressure is really wide?

Pulse pressure that is considered to be “broad” also falls under the category of high pulse pressure. This is in relation to the increasing disparity between your systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings.


What does research say?

According to the findings of a study that was conducted in 2018 discovered that pulse pressure is a significant predictor of newly developed heart disease and the mortality rates associated with it.

According to the findings of another study, having a wide pulse pressure range can also result in organ damage and raise the risk of cardiovascular disease, particularly as one gets older.

The objective of one study undertaken in 2021 was to examine methods for reducing the health risks linked with elevated pulse pressure over time. The study indicated that beginning the practice of healthy living habits at an earlier age can help minimize the risk of major cardiovascular events connected to pulse pressure as well as the chance of death. It is possible that this will help people live longer and improve their overall quality of life.


How does it compare to the patient's blood pressure?

Measurements of the pulse pressure can be used to forecast an increase in the risk of heart disease, its effects, or overall mortality. Readings of both the systolic and diastolic components of blood pressure are essential, however. Measurements that indicate high blood pressure can also raise the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular events related to the heart.

Take for instance the case of two individuals who both have a pulse pressure value of 60 mm Hg. The blood pressure measurement taken from one individual is 120/60 mmHg, while the blood pressure measurement taken from the other individual is 180/120 mm Hg. Despite having a same reading for their pulse pressure, the second person is at a greater risk for experiencing an adverse event.


How to deal with it?

One older study discovered that males who had normal or just slightly raised systolic blood pressure benefited from folic acid intake in their diet by seeing a reduction in their pulse pressure. This study was conducted on younger men ranging in age from 20 to 40 years old who did not have any extra health concerns. It was not conducted on older volunteers whose pulse pressure was higher as a result of aging or hypertension.

If you want to regulate your pulse pressure, you can attempt some of the same lifestyle suggestions that are recommended for lowering excessive blood pressure. These guidelines have been shown to be effective in lowering blood pressure. That encompasses the following:

  • Eating a diet that is healthy for the heart and low in salt.
  • Maintaining an active lifestyle and reducing your intake of alcohol
  • Quitting smoking
  • Managing stress


The takeaway

A person’s pulse pressure can be determined by taking their systolic blood pressure reading and then subtracting their diastolic blood pressure measurement from that number.

It tends to rise with age and is a predictor of cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke. It is essential to maintain blood pressure and pulse pressure within the ranges prescribed by your doctor.

Treating hypertension can frequently result in a drop in pulse pressure. If you are concerned about your pulse pressure reading, consult your physician about ways to reduce it.


About the Author

Picture of Sanjeev Yadav, M.A. Yoga, P.G. Psych., DNHE
Sanjeev Yadav, M.A. Yoga, P.G. Psych., DNHE

Mr. Sanjeev is a yoga professional specializing in applied yoga, psychology, and human excellence with over more than 8 years of experience as a health and life coach, well-being trainer, and psycho-yogic counselor. He is completing his Ph.D. dissertation in Yoga.

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